How to Cut Foam Inserts

Written by mark morris
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Foam inserts can be used to protect everything from tools to camera gear. Adding a protective layer to the interior of any carrying bag or case is as easy as cutting a piece of foam. Be sure to use sharp scissors or a utility knife to avoid ragged edges.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Closed cell foam
  • Utility or craft knife
  • Spray adhesive (Super 77 by 3M is recommended)
  • Permanent marker
  • Ruler
  • Clothes pins or spring clamps

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    Gathering Materials

  1. 1

    Purchase enough 1 to 3 inch closed cell foam to fill the bag or case you wish to cut inserts for. Foam can be purchased from a craft, sewing supply or hobby store in large sheets for making upholstery cushions. The denser the foam, the more protection it provides.

  2. 2

    Get a can of Super 77 or other spray adhesive. It can be purchased at discount stores and home centres in the paint department. You will be using this to attach the foam pieces together. You may also want a few clothes pins or spring clamps. Don't forget a permanent marker; black sharpies work well.

  3. 3

    Gather up the items you need to make inserts for and lay the foam out on the table. Set your bag or case on top of the foam in one corner. Mark the outline of the bag or case with permanent marker on top of the foam.

    Cutting the Insert

  1. 1

    Use a ruler or other straight edge to cut along for nice, clean, straight lines. Cut the foam with a large blade in a craft knife (X-Acto brand works well) or a utility knife. Try to make the cuts as clean as possible for a good, tight fit.

  2. 2

    Use the bag- or case-shaped foam you just cut as a template to mark enough pieces to fill the bag or case if stacked one on top of the other. Make sure to use the straight edge to cut along for clean lines.

  3. 3

    Lay out the things you intend to store in the case or bag on one of the pieces of foam. Leave enough room between the pieces to have a good foam cushion. Use the black marker to outline each piece. Try to stay as close to the item's outline as possible for a snug fit.

  4. 4

    Use the craft or utility knife to cut out the outlines of the items from the foam. Test each space for fit by placing the item into its space. You want a snug fit that is not difficult to get the item back out of. Trim the foam to make necessary adjustments. If the item is thicker than one piece of foam, cut enough pieces to fully cradle it.

  5. 5

    Leave one uncut piece for the bottom of the bag or case and one for the top. Use the spray glue to attach the cutout insert pieces to the bottom foam.

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